The use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War had many debilitating consequences for returning soldiers, including increased rates of cancer, respiratory disorders, and other illnesses. Michigan veteran Nels Larson now has trouble walking due to his exposure to Agent Orange, a disability that has kept him from his beloved pastimes of hunting and fishing. That is, until he received a generous gift from the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM). Larson was the third vet to be presented with an all-terrain Action Trackchair, a “wheelchair” that, instead of wheels, utilizes two continuous tracks.
“I don’t know what to say,” Larsen told MLive.com. “This is just something else.”
According to Jim Tignanelli, president of POAM, Larsen was chosen due to his own generosity and efforts to aid his fellow veterans. Among other things, Larsen headed up the Walleyes for Warriors fishing competition for soldiers returning from tours overseas.
“He’s just a very giving guy that nobody has ever given anything,” Tignanelli said. “We really came across a guy that we can change his life, and I think he has done that for a lot of people.”
Larsen’s new trackchair has been specially modified to suit the outdoor lifestyle, including headlights, a rifle holder, and fishing tackle storage. The setup is also a pricey one, coming in at around $12,500. According to the Action Trackchair website, base models cost over $10,000, not including additions such as a head rest, battery charger, or utility trays. For POAM fundraisers, it is a small price to pay for Larsen to be able to enjoy the outdoors again.
“He’s a hunter that hasn’t been able to go hunting,” Tignanelli said. “He said he hasn’t been out in a field for 40 years.”
Representatives from POAM and friends presented Larsen with the chair last week outside a restaurant in Auburn, Michigan. It was a surprise that the veteran did not expect, but he is very grateful. In fact, he has already made plans that will put him back in the field.
“I’m going to go deer hunting,” Larsen said.
Action Trackchair offers their products in a number of colors and patterns, including camo. A demonstration of the trackchair can be seen below: